Update #7 From New Orleans
Who knew that way back in August (it seems like ages ago!) when we first put out our "Urgent need for disaster response" that we would still be here, six updates and more than three months later, with the disaster and spiritual opportunity still ongoing. The opportunity that God has presented to us as a Church body in America continues to be historic in proportion, with many Christian leaders seeing an opportunity for New Orleans to be reborn as a God fearing, Holy Spirit filled city. Sadly however it seems like the vision is shared by too few, as the volunteers and support from around the country that have been sustaining our ministry's efforts to date seem to have dwindled markedly. This of course is a natural response given that New Orleans rarely makes the headlines these days, but the long hard, yet historic work of rebuilding the city has definitely begun, and what form that city will take is being determined day by day. There are forces at work that would have this city re-emerge onto the world scene as something actually worse than what it was, with proposals by Mayor Nagin, Ted Turner and others involving huge new casinos as the driving force that will bring the city back to life. There are others among us however that envision a city known world wide as being a place known for hosting Christian events, and being a city that is neither corrupt nor demonic, but rather a city that honors God before the world. It is easy to adopt a position that such a vision is not realistic, that the image of New Orleans, known far and wide as a center of “voodoo” and the party lifestyle, along with having corruption at every level, is simply too entrenched and that we poor humans cannot possibly change the situation as it stands. The reality however is that God (via Katrina) really did purge this city, and that the citizens at every level are asking questions about their relationship with God in a way that they have never asked before. If we as a body of Christ respond, with workers and provisions and supplies then we have a real chance of impacting this city in a way that will in turn impact our nation and the entire world.
Our wonderful new tent at the “Good News” camp in City Park , New Orleans
There have been many changes since our last update here. Several ministries have felt led to pull out of New Orleans, while other ministries are stepping in. There are several groups providing support at the camp we are working at in City Park , known as the “Good News” camp, which is now headed up by Jerry Davis of the Christian World Embassy. We are working daily to provide clothing, cleaning supplies, hot meals and most importantly prayer and just listening to the returning residents, some of whom have no earthly possessions, even after all the response from FEMA, Red Cross and others. We are also one of the few ministries supporting the thousands of workers who have come to New Orleans , many of whom are not being paid at all to date. These men and women are literally risking their lives to clean and rebuild the city, but in many cases they are not being paid and not being offered any food, shelter, clothing or other supplies by any organization or ministry due to their status of not being residents. While others ignore this huge need we feel that God is calling us to minister to these people, who need the good news of the Gospel as much as any resident, and who need food and support as much as any other working person, particularly if they are receiving no pay to date for their efforts.
The good news from the “Good News” camp is that Campus Crusade for Christ has been sending literally hundreds of eager and hard working Christian college students from around the country (mostly on weekends) to work and pray and learn about how to win a city for Christ. Their energy and dedication to this great work has been an inspiration to the few remaining full time staffers (working with several part time volunteers) who are keeping an ongoing presence here.
Thanksgiving was a blessed time at the camp, with over a thousand turkey dinners prepared, and many residents and workers joining us in thanking God for his love and provision.
Chef Sean proudly showing his turkey frying technique, while Ricky stirs potatoes & dinner is served.
Thanksgiving at the Good News camp & Thanksgiving on the streets (there are less than 100 shelter beds in New Orleans today)
Another wonderful outreach that we have been engaging in recently is to send young Christians to spend time with children in one of the housing projects that has been re-opened. We do art projects and just generally play with the kids, who tend to not get a lot of adult attention and who very much enjoy our visits.
Emily Gunkelman and a new friend & Heather Smith and two new friends.
Chef Sean and Maleek, who now is in possession of his camp name badge.
As usual there are some additional pictures this week in the photo gallery, along with lots of pictures from previous editions, so if you would like to see the complete hurricane response photo gallery click here.
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Wings Of Love Ministry
"Serving People Who Serve God"
3818 E Libra Pl, Chandler AZ 85249 (480) 917-3608 email to: firstname.lastname@example.org www.wingsoflove.org